Sunday, August 13, 2006

Family Reunion and resurrected shawl

My family reunion has taken precedence over everything, including blogging and knitting. Beginning 10 days ago, family members began arriving to celebrate my parents' 80th birthdays. Sister Terese and her 9 year old son were the first to arrive. Four days later Sister Annette, brother Mark and my mom and dad arrived. Two days later her husband John and son Carl arrived. With my brother Jon and his wife Robin living in Madison, we were at full strength.
My ex-husband, also named John, is now an amateur group photographer. So, he took lots of family photos in a park, which I will put in an album for my parents. Here's a shot of all the women, plus Jack, with the fans I brought back for them from Barcelona! We spent some time practicing snapping the fans open and closed. Jack, as you can see, took the opportunity to ham things up!!

In the late 1960's our family (mom, dad and five children) lived in Northern Nigeria for two years. During that time, we came to love chicken curry--brought to Kaduna by the British. My brother Jon made a huge pot of curry one evening and we had a fabulous dinner at his house where I completely ignored Weight Watchers point limits and ate three helpings. Here is helping #3. (Note: Weight Watcher points were also ignored for cakes, ice cream, fruit tarts and real cream in coffee! I skipped the WW meeting this week!!!)

Knitting took a backburner to cooking, planning, organizing and celebrating. But, I was able to finally finish the shapely shawlette shawl I made to take to Barcelona earlier in the summer. I used soy silk yarn from Southwest Trading. I had two problems with the yarn. First, the balls had knots!!!!! I sent an email message to the company and they told me that I had some old skeins of yarn and that the new yarn did not have knots. Let's hope "knot"!! Second, the yarn is completely inelastic. I used the yarn happily, however, because I liked the drape and the light weight.
Knowing that the yarn was inelastic did not stop me, however, from using the recommended double bind off from the pattern. I have made about 5 shapely shawlettes in my time (they are wonderful, easy knits that stay on one's shoulder!!) and never had problems with the bindoff before.
Well, this time the shawl "bound" my shoulders when worn. So, I frogged and applied a horizontal lace pattern to the live stitches on the edge. Knitter's error in deciding how many stitches to use for each row of the horizontal lace resulted in another in-elastic edge. I took the thing to Barcelona anyway. It was so hot that I never took the thing out of my suitcase!
When I got home to the U.S. I finally solved the problem. I frogged the recalcitrant horizontal lace and took matters firmly into my own creativity. I needed an edge that would stretch, but not result in a curly mess. I needed more stitches. So, I *bound off two stitches, put a backwards loop on the needle and used it as a stitch to bind off* and repeated across the long, long edge. Voila--a beautiful, non-curling but elastic edge!!

I still haven't worn the shawl, but when the weather cools off, I will.

In my nest post I hope to show you the completed Violets by the River shawl!!! I am now on the honeybees, the top edge. Six rows on 368 lace stitches and I'm done!!!!


gail said...

I am sorry to have to add the word verification for comments. I have been receiving spam type anonymous comments and, therefore, needed to add this feature.

HPNY Knits said...

family reunion looks like fun!
I am in awe of your lace projects! wow. I have to take the plunge. it scares me, those long rows...

about the geometric blankets- did you mean?

Lorette said...

Beautiful shawl, and it looks like you had a fun reunion! I can't wait to see the Violets shawl, that is a beautiful pattern.

betty said...

wow, this shawlette looks great!
i'm still working on the peacock feathers. can't wait to see the violets by the river!

lene said...

Dear Gail,
You had a question about blanket sites... Tilkkupeitto - which you already have - is the only one I know. I can't think of seeing anywhere patterns for blankets being sold. I hope you find what you are looking for soon.
Your lace knitting is absolutely beautiful.